Oregon isn’t the only place with amazing sights in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, this entire region of the United States has a very wide range of sights and tourist options that can appeal to nearly anyone. With everything from sandy beaches to sweeping mountain ranges and extremely modern cities, the Pacific Northwest has quite a lot to offer you in terms of travel options. The specific things you choose to do during your stay will probably be dictated by the weather and the time of year. However, it is easy to build an itinerary to suit any situation.
Popular Pacific Northwest Cities
There are quite a few cities in this region that are very well-known around the country. They all seem to share a similar quality of “urban meets wilderness” as they are all surrounded by large tracts of forested land. This is especially true in Oregon and Washington state. The largest cities in these states are Portland and Seattle. They are both surrounded by dense forests and mountainous terrain that give the cities a very unique feel that is indicative of the Pacific Northwest.
Portland is directly on the border of Washington and Oregon at the Columbia River. Just across the river is Vancouver, Washington. This proximity to Washington has a large influence on Portland and it means that this city has a special blend of influences from many parts of the Pacific Northwest. Portland is most well-known for its illustrious history of brewing and architecture. Some of the most architecturally unique buildings in the United States can be found in this city.
Seattle is known as something of a cultural hub in both the Pacific Northwest and the greater United States. The city is the home base to a number of different large companies including Outdoor Research, Nordstrom, and the world renowned coffee shop Starbucks. Some of the most popular places to see in the city are Kerry Park and the Space Needle. Seattle is also a launching point for people that want to visit the Olympia Mountains just on the other side of Puget Sound.
Popular Natural Areas in the Pacific Northwest
Nature is something that the Pacific Northwest is known for. This part of the United States possesses huge amounts of pristine wilderness on a scale that is rarely found in the lower 48 states. It is also home to the only true rainforests in the United States and has some of the highest volcanic peaks in the country.
Two things that the Pacific Northwest is especially known for are mountains and waterfalls. Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens are all world famous mountains that have an interesting geological history. Mount St. Helens famously erupted in 1980 in what is known as one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in modern history. Mount Rainier is famous as a very difficult mountain to climb and many potential Everest climbers use Rainier as one of their practice peaks while working their way up.
The Cascade mountains run throughout Oregon and Washington and are called the cascades for a reason. Thousands of waterfalls dot these mountains and are a major tourist draw in the area every year. The largest of the falls in the Cascades range is known as Multnomah Falls and is in Oregon just along the Columbia River Gorge. It is within a close driving distance to Portland and that proximity makes it an ideal day trip for visitors to Oregon’s largest city.
Beaches are also a very big draw throughout the Pacific Northwest. Cannon Beach is perhaps the most popular of these beaches. It is located in Oregon and is nearly 2 hours from Portland. Newport is another coastal community that is very popular with tourists. It is the west-coast headquarters of NOAA and its home fleet can be seen from the harbors of Newport on a regular basis.
Of course, the Pacific Northwest is very well-known for its pristine forests. Some of the largest tracts of dense forests in the United States are found here. This includes some of the last stands of true old-growth forest that you can find in the entire country. These forests are often within a short drive of any major city.